In the News

St. Johns County

Citizens for a New Tree Ordinance

County booming, development is taking off!  These are the words used to describe the article “Residential Growth not limited to northern end of St. Johns County" in a St. Augustine Record front page article.   The accompanying images show acres of land where all that remains is dirt.  All trees and wildlife are gone from what appears to be a moonscape.  Most citizens of St. Johns County don’t realize that clear cutting, bulldozing and burning are perfectly legal in St. Johns County.  Our tree ordinance only requires a replanting 40 inches of trees per half acre.  The entire tree canopy and every existing tree can be cut.  This weak tree ordinance allows developers, some national, who could care less what our county looks like when they are done, to destroy every bit of life, build homes quickly, plant a token sapling on each lot, take their profits and move on. 

     Homes can be built among the trees.  Individuals build homes every day while preserving trees on their lot.  Developers could easily do that as well, but it’s easier and perfectly legal not to.  The time for a new stronger tree ordinance that saves our tree canopy while allowing for development is now!  Please urge your county commissioners to save our county from clear cutting.  Let’s preserve the beauty that remains in our county and give our wildlife a place to live while still allowing for development that respects what is special about St. Johns County.                        Mark Gendzier, DVM

Our Platform for Change

After extensive review of our county’s land development code versus others in the state of Florida the SJ County code needs to be revised to:

  • Stop using filling and grading as permission to clear cut.
  • Require a percentage of existing tree canopy to be saved.
  • Rewrite the definitions of “protected tree” and “specimen tree” so that they serve to protect trees not provide permission to cut them down.
  • Use modern methods of stem wall construction and inexpensive tree root grid protection to allow trees to remain in place.
  • Rewrite code that equates planting ten 4” diameter new “replacement” saplings with cutting down a 40” diameter mature tree.
  • Amend tree mitigation regulations.